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Lifestyle & Inspiration Oral Health Tips & Tutorials

Your guide to teeth straightening options

Teeth straightening is a big step for most and there are plenty of options to choose from. Searching for teeth straightening options online results in an overwhelming number of choices, ranging from traditional metal braces, to ceramic or clear braces, to newer invisible braces that are prescribed at the orthodontic clinic.

But when it comes down to it, your options come in just two main types: conventional fixed appliances such as metal or ceramic braces, or removable invisible braces.

Traditional braces

The upside: Can treat most orthodontic issues, is easily accessible and affordable

The downside: They are a fixed appliance; which means they cannot be removed until after the treatment is complete, can irritate gums and cheeks, extra oral care is needed to prevent cavities and other oral problems.

Teeth-straightening duration: 1 year to 4 years

Cost: Between 3,500 SGD to 4,200 SGD

Traditional braces work by using pressure to move your teeth into a desired position. There’s a reason they are commonly used: they work for everything from fixing teeth that are crooked, crowded or spaced out to correcting an overbite or underbite. But braces aren’t all metal mouth and elastic bands anymore as what they were back then. There are now a number of braces options available in the market such as:

Metal braces: These are the traditional and most common braces — they consist of metal brackets with wires held by elastic ties.

Damon/Self-litigating braces: Like traditional metal braces, but they use a sliding device to hold the wire instead of elastic ties. They usually have a ceramic bracket option that are less visibly obvious compared to metal braces.

Ceramic braces: They are very similar to traditional braces except that they’re made of tooth-colored ceramic material. Hence they blend in with the teeth a little better.

It is important to note that there are certain cases that can be best treated with traditional braces, and there are some cases that are actually treated best with invisible braces.

Invisible braces

The upside:  For mild to moderate cases, invisible braces can be more affordable than traditional braces, less noticeable than traditional braces, removable – thus allowing eating, drinking and maintaining oral hygiene easier

The downside: Must be worn for a proper amount of time each day throughout the process to be effective at straightening teeth, may cost significantly more than traditional braces, as they are removable – may be easily misplaced.

Teeth-straightening duration: Varies by person; 6 months to 2 years

Cost: Between 2,999 SGD to 11,000 SGD

Invisalign introduced invisible braces to the market in 1997 and since then, over two dozen companies have followed. Invisible braces are plastic trays that are custom-made to be fitted to your teeth after a dentist either takes a mould of your teeth or conducts a 3D scan of your mouth. Each pair of invisible braces put pressure on your teeth, gradually moving them into their desired position. Invisible braces are removable when eating, drinking or brushing teeth but they will need to be worn for at least 22 hours a day in order to be effectively straightening teeth.

Most people have been discouraged from straightening their teeth as braces might not be the most ideal method, and invisible braces prescribed at the clinics are extremely costly and not easily accessible to most people. Today, direct-to-consumer brands are making it easier for everyone to straighten their teeth with customized invisible braces at affordable prices with minimal appointments.

How do I know what’s right for me?

The two options explained above work well for the cases they are intended to treat but for some, become invisible braces is just as effective as any teeth straightening options that are prescribed at the clinic. Want to find out if you are fit for become’s invisible braces? Take our free smile assessment now.

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Oral Health Tutorials

How to care for your invisible braces

Everyone needs a little TLC – and so do your invisible braces. As you’ll be wearing your invisible braces pretty much all the time, we’re here to give you some tips on how to take care of them so they stay clean, clear and comfortable to wear!

Rinse and Repeat

The only time you’ll remove your invisible braces is when you eat, drink and brush your teeth. Before putting your them back into your mouth, rinse your invisible braces with cold water to keep them clean. This will prevent dried saliva from building up on the invisible braces, which can cause bacteria to form. Keep your mouth healthy by keeping your invisible braces clean. However, avoid rinsing your invisible braces in hot water. The high heat can damage the plastic and ruin your invisible braces.

Brush & Floss before wearing

After you eat, make sure to brush and floss your teeth before putting your invisible braces back in. If you don’t, food particles can get trapped between your invisible braces and your teeth, which can lead to dental problems. Remember, a clean mouth is a happy mouth – plus you don’t want that piece of spinach stuck in your teeth for the world to see 😉

Clean with soap, not toothpaste.

To clean your invisible braces, remember to use clear antibacterial soap and not toothpaste. Toothpaste can be abrasive against the thermoplastic, which may scratch your invisible braces – and coloured antibacterial soaps may stain your invisible braces into a different colour. We know that invisible braces are favoured for their transparency and scratches can be easily visible when wearing them on your teeth. So keep them transparent and clear by cleaning them the proper way!

Keep it in

When you take your invisible braces off to eat and drink, remember to store them away in the storage capsule included with your invisible braces set. Leaving your invisible braces in the open exposes them to harmful germs and bacteria – and you also risk misplacing them by accident!

Invisible braces can be a great way to straighten your smile discreetly. Taking the time to properly clean and care for your invisible braces can help smoothen your smile journey to get the smile of your dreams. become makes it easy for you to straighten your smile with invisible braces at 65% less than other methods. Your treatment plan will be prescribed and monitored by our partner dentists so you’ll never have to worry. Take our free 30s Smile Assessment to see if our invisible braces are a good fit for you!

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Lifestyle & Inspiration Oral Health

How to take a smile-worthy “after” selfie

Huzzah! It’s the end of your smile journey with become and we know you’re super excited to share your new smile with the world – or at least with your followers on social media. We’ve got some selfie photography tips for you to celebrate your new smile with the perfect “after” photo. Check out these simple tips on how you can show off your gorgeous new smile!

Lights, camera, SMILE!

Good lighting is crucial for a good photo and ideally you would want to have your picture taken somewhere with lots of natural lighting to show off your pearly whites. Try standing in front of a window so the natural light is hitting your face and not from behind you which could cause a dark silhouette of your face in the photo. However, take note that lots of lighting could also be a bad thing! Having too much light can also cause your photos to be overexposed.

Keep it simple

Your background should ideally be simple and clean from any clutter or mess so it doesn’t distract from your face. We want your smile and face to be the center of attention so keep your background and composition simple!

Be yourself

This photo is all about you and for your personality to shine through! Wear your favourite clothes, add some accessories,  or have your location backdrop in a place you love. Your selfie is unique to YOU so have fun with it!

Have some handy props

Posing with items or even a pet can add a lot of personality to your photo (and also comes in handy when you’re feeling shy). Hold your favourite mug, hug your pet or even pose with your favourite plate of food!

Minimal filters

You have a new smile and you’re loving it. You feel super confident and ready to take on anything and we know it’s tempting to add a LOT of filters into your selfie. Keep your filters to a minimum for a more natural selfie that shows off your brand new smile and embrace your confident self! If you do have to edit, keep it minimal to add some exposure to your photos or add a small bit of colour saturation.

BONUS: Have a before and after selfie

Planning to show off your before and after transformation in a selfie? We recommend that you have both photos look consistent by framing them similarly with the same backdrop so your transformation can be seen clearly. You can also choose to have the same hairstyle and clothing in both your selfies too!

Finished your becomejourney with become? Send us your best after selfie to hello@become.sg and we’ll feature it on our site! We love seeing our customers showing off their new grin.

If you’re looking to get that selfie-worthy smile, take our free 30s smile assessment to see if our become invisible braces is right for you!

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Lifestyle & Inspiration Oral Health

How to maintain good oral hygiene

We all know that good oral hygiene is important in preventing tooth decay and gingivitis, but research has shown that poor oral care has also been linked to heart disease, dementia, respiratory infections and diabetes. While maintaining a healthy mouth is a lifelong commitment and might sound like a chore, it’s not that hard at all! 

Don’t Give It a Brush-off

Rinse your toothbrush thoroughly with tap water every time you use it. Let your toothbrush dry thoroughly between brushings. Don’t use toothbrush covers, which can create a moist enclosed breeding ground for bacteria.

What’s in Between

Nothing cleans in between the teeth better than floss or interdental brushes. A fine-bristle toothbrush just won’t cut it. Floss and interdental brushes work by removing food trapped between the teeth and removing plaque that forms there before it turns into tartar. They also clean under the gum line, which is an important step to prevent gum disease. 

Prevent Oral Injury

While it’s important to clean between the teeth, using toothpicks, fingernails or folded paper may cause friction, damaging the gum line, and not to mention unhygienic. Brushing too vigorously and not replacing your brush when the bristles start to lose their shape can also cause injury to the teeth and gums. Wear mask if you have habit of biting your nails.

Bittersweet Symphony

Snacking has been known as a major culprit in weight gain, but did you know that snacking also promotes the production of plaque acid in the mouth? This is because most snacks contain sugar. Your best bet is to cut down on sugary treats and aim to brush after every meal. The fact that it’s cumbersome to brush after every meal or snack should discourage you from snacking too often.

Pay a Visit, or Pay the Price

It’s important to visit your dentist regularly (recommended every 6 months) for checkups and monitoring. Your dentist can detect any problems at an early stage when they’re treatable and more affordable to take care of. Your dentist is also the best person to advise you on the best tools and techniques suited to you to keep your home oral care up to scratch.

Maintaining a good oral hygiene can be trickier for those wearing metal braces. Plaque and food particles have additional places to accumulate, flossing is only possible with super floss, and brushing takes more effort than ever. This is where invisible braces (teeth aligners) prove to be a better option – oral hygiene is easy since you can simply remove it to brush your teeth and floss as usual.

With become, you now can improve your smile with invisible braces, at a fraction of the clinic cost. Take our free 30s Smile Assessment to see if our invisible braces are a good fit for you!

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Tips & Tutorials

5 Questions Answered About Invisible Braces

While invisible braces or clear aligners have been growing in popularity and many customers are considering it for treating their teeth misalignment, there have been many questions and concerns floating around on how effective they are compared to metal braces. So let’s cover the top 5 commonly asked questions about invisible braces.

What exactly are invisible braces and how do they work?

Invisible braces are plastic trays that are custom-made to be fitted to your teeth after a dentist either takes a mould of your teeth or conducts a 3D scan of your mouth. Each pair of invisible braces put pressure on your teeth, gradually moving them into their desired position. Invisible braces are removable when eating, drinking or brushing teeth but they will need to be worn for at least 22 hours a day in order to be effectively straightening teeth.

How long have invisible braces been around for?

While direct-to-consumer invisible braces brands are very recent, the technology behind them is not. In 1945, the first plastic tooth positioning device was developed by Dr. Harold Kesling. In the past, invisible braces technology was possible, but wasn’t a feasible idea as dentists had to create them manually by taking new impressions with every patient visit to the clinic. It wasn’t until Align Technology, Inc. created a software program to create the entire invisible braces  progression digitally in 1998 which became the foundation for all invisible braces as we know it today came into being.

Are invisible braces really effective?

Invisible braces are effective depending on the mild to moderate level of cases. Unlike metal braces, invisible braces cannot treat severe teeth overcrowding as they are designed to treat mild to moderate cases. But it is also dependent on the patient’s own discipline on wearing the invisible braces properly as instructed. Patients who wear it for less than the recommended time of 22 hours a day or is forgetful to change the invisible braces pair out for a new pair may affect the teeth straightening timeline and not have results as desired or planned. In addition, like metal braces, patients will have to wear retainers after completion of teeth straightening period to keep their new smile aligned.

What are invisible braces made of?

Different manufacturers have different materials for their invisible braces. Commonly, they are made from plastic polymers that are moldable at high temperatures (thermoplastic) such as polyethylene terephthalate glycol-modified (PET-G), polypropylene, polycarbonate (PC), thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), and ethylene vinyl acetate, among others. It is important to note that you should choose invisible braces that are free from harmful BPA, phthalates, and parabens.

How much do invisible braces cost?

It can vary depending on the brand you choose. The general rule of thumb is, more time means more money. If the correction is more complicated, it may cost more money. In Invisalign’s case, the cost depends on the condition of your teeth and the complexity of your case. It may sometimes be affordable if only minor corrections are needed but can be extremely costly for more severe cases. The good news is, become invisible braces cost the same no matter how long your smile correction duration is. Check out our pricing here: become.sg

And there you have it! All the commonly asked questions about invisible braces that could help you in your deciding factor on if invisible braces are suitable for you. When in doubt, always consult your dentist or book an appointment with us to get a FREE scan at our partner clinic!

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Tips & Tutorials

Invisible braces vs metal braces

When people think of straightening teeth, they often find themselves having to make a decision on choosing between invisible braces and traditional braces. Until this day, traditional metal braces have always been the most commonly used option to straighten teeth as they generally do fix most teeth cases from moderate to very severe. 

How traditional braces work is by using pressure to move your teeth into a desired position with metal brackets and archwires held by small elastics. Flexible arch wires are then attached to the brackets and apply constant pressure which helps to reposition the teeth based on the treatment plan. Technology has made arch wires more advanced, meaning that repositioning requires less time and patients experience less discomfort. Small elastic bands connect the wires to the brackets. Metal braces are a fixed appliance as the brackets are fixed onto your teeth during the treatment period.

But in reality, not many people know that there is an alternative to traditional metal braces when it comes to straightening their smile. Invisible braces (or also commonly known as clear aligners) can be just as effective as traditional metal braces with some additional benefits.

Clear aligners or invisible braces are a series of customised clear plastic trays that fit tightly on the teeth. It uses pressure to gently shift the teeth into a desired position. They are usually worn for 22 hours a day and each pair is changed out every 2 weeks. You get a set of them, from 8 – 30 invisible braces pairs depending on how long your treatment period is and your teeth conditions.

Benefits of Invisible Braces

Invisible braces or clear aligners offer some benefits that metal braces don’t. As the name suggests, they are completely transparent and this helps conceal the fact that the patient is undergoing orthodontic treatment, which can be embarrassing for some adults. Invisible braces allow for easier brushing and flossing since they’re removed for cleaning and food doesn’t get trapped in them unlike traditional braces.

Unlike metal braces, invisible braces don’t have brackets or wires that can loosen. Which in turn means that they may require fewer repairs and fewer emergency visits to the orthodontist.

Cons of Invisible Braces

It is also important to note that there are some downsides when it comes to invisible braces. Unlike traditional metal braces, invisible braces may not be the right solution for severe teeth misalignment as they are designed for moderate teeth misalignment cases. Thus this may limit some patient’s from getting them if they have complex orthodontic cases.

In addition, the patient must be disciplined in wearing them for at least 22 hours a day. If not worn correctly, the treatment won’t produce the best results if the aligners aren’t worn as long. The major reason for invisible braces treatments failing primarily relates to lack of patient compliance with wearing the invisible braces as instructed.

Last but not least, another disadvantage that discourages patients for opting for invisible braces is the price. Invisalign is the most commonly used brand for invisible braces and the pricing for Invisalign can be very expensive ranging from 8,000 SGD to 11,000 SGD depending on teeth conditions. With this high price, many patients back out and opt for the more affordable traditional braces instead. However, there are many new direct-to-consumer brands that offer invisible braces for a fraction of the Invisalign price. A few to name are Smiledirectclub, Byte, Zenyum and become. These brands are revolutionising the invisible braces industry with teledentistry which allows for patients to get invisible braces treatments at home with remote dentist monitoring.

Which Is More Effective?

Metal braces tend to be more effective at adjusting teeth that have severe overcrowding and may also cost less than invisible braces. However, invisible braces may be more efficient in both treatment time and cost for several cases.

If you want to improve your smile but cringe at the thought of metal braces, take our free assessment here. Invisible braces might just be the solution for you.

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Tips & Tutorials

Crowded Teeth Causes & Solutions

Teeth that aren’t perfectly aligned are unique to you and can add personality and charm to your smile. Crowded teeth or malocclusion are quite common, and those who grew up suffering from crowded teeth obviously don’t want their children to have to go through the same thing. The question is, can this condition be prevented? To answer that question, let’s take a look at what causes crowded teeth in the first place.

What causes crowded teeth?

There are plenty of reasons why our teeth are crooked, some of which are even preventable. It may be genetic, or they may be a result of the way that we live or care for our teeth. Here are some of the most common underlying causes for crooked teeth:

1. Losing baby teeth too early

If a child loses its baby teeth far before the adult teeth are completely ready to grow in, the adult teeth may drift in the gums and end up not growing properly into their spot.

2. Losing baby teeth too late

If a baby tooth is particularly stubborn and doesn’t want to fall out, the permanent tooth may erupt behind it, making a second row of teeth farther back than where it would otherwise be. 

3. Childhood myofunctional habits

Thumb-sucking, mouth-breathing, tongue thrusting and prolonged pacifier or bottle use are common myofunctional habits of young children. These habits can lead to incorrect dental and facial development.

4. Small jaw

As we get older and grow, our teeth and jaw follow suit, but that process doesn’t always run completely smoothly. It’s quite common for people with crowded teeth to have a jaw that’s too small to fit all the adult teeth in a straight, neat line. 

5. Facial injury

A car accident, a fall down the stairs, or an elbow to the face during a rugby game can knock teeth out of place, resulting in one or more crooked teeth. A hard hit to the face can also cause jaw misalignment.

6. Poor dental care

Untreated gum disease and cavities can lead to crooked teeth and other dental health problems, which in the end will make teeth more misaligned. 

How to Treat Crowded Teeth?

The most common teeth straightening for crowded teeth is metal braces as they can fix even severe misalignments. However, for those with only mild to moderate misalignment of their teeth, invisible braces are the best option as they are removable, and allow you to inconspicuously achieve a perfect smile. While there may be some initial discomfort, invisible braces won’t irritate your mouth tissues like metal braces do. 

If you are not sure how severe your teeth misalignment is, you may take our assessment here and see if become invisible braces are the right teeth straightening aligners for you!